Wembley Stadium Turf Scholarship gives dream kick-off to careers of young Groundsmen.
Wembley Stadium has teamed up with Toro, Lely UK and Oaklands College to provide an annual Wembley Stadium Turf Scholarship to a student from the college.
Four students short-listed for the scholarship by the college recently spent a day at Wembley Stadium for the final judging under the direction of grounds manager Steve Welch and his team.
James Pope, 17, Sam Fisher, 20, Lee Davison, 18, and Tony Dommett, 17, were each interviewed and then assessed on a number of practical turf maintenance tasks they carried out on the famous new pitch under the watchful eye of Steve Welch and his deputy Steve Green.
The winner, to be announced later this month, will receive the prize of a one-year's scholarship working as part of the Wembley Stadium ground staff team. The successful student and all three short-listed candidates will also get a free, five-year subscription to the Institute of Groundsmanship, paid for by sponsors Toro and Lely UK, the exclusive suppliers of turf maintenance equipment to Wembley.
The idea for the scholarship, which will provide a dream kick-off to the careers of young groundsmen, is rooted in Steve Welch's desire to help develop young talent that can demonstrate in his words "flexibility, dedication and commitment to the turf industry".
He says: "The industry needs more qualified people. I have always had young staff members on my team over the years and many have gone on to do well. It's also about putting something back into the industry, which has been my living and something I love doing."
Steve's aims dovetail perfectly with Wembley Stadium's own commitment to develop young people and work closely with the local community. Which is why, as the closest to Wembley, Oaklands College was chosen as the exclusive educational partner for the scholarship.
Andy Wight, lecturer in greenkeeping and sports turf management at Oaklands, runs the college side of things for the scholarship. To be eligible, students must be studying for their City & Guilds National Certificate in Horticulture - Sports Turf Management at the college.
Photo: Front row, from left, Karl Standley, Steve Green, Steve Welch, Wembley Stadium, Sam Fisher, Tony Dommett, Peter Mansfield, Toro/Lely, and Samantha Hannon, Wembley Stadium. Back, from left, James Pope and Lee Davison.